February and March in by-elections

Notwithstanding the random, and unrepresentative, nature of local by-election snapshots, the set of results for February and March 2014 will provide a little cheer for the Conservatives. No overall losses (although they gained four, and lost the same number), top of the votes acquired, and fielding more candidates than their opponents in the 48 by-elections, they can feel some justifiable satisfaction.

The Tories nudged ahead of Labour largely because Labour (again) failed to field a full complement of candidates. This is always a source of frustration for me; everyone should have the opportunity to vote for democratic socialism.

The Green Party are struggling, and nowhere is this more evident than in the number of contests they feature in.  For some time they have been the fifth party nationally, with isolated pockets of success. UKIP have galloped past them, and UKIP’s vote share suggests third place – although they struggle to convert this into wins. UKIP also struggle for candidates, which casts a large shadow over them being anything beyond a fringe protest group. However, this is an improving picture for them.  These results include nine runner-up spots for UKIP, and to make a real breakthrough in local government then it is clear that this has got to change.

party vote share % seats won candidates net gain
Conservative 30.4 18 42 0
Labour 28.2 10 31 -1
Liberal Democrat 13.9 9 33 3
UKIP 12.8 0 26 0
Independent 4.8 4 17 -3
SNP 2.5 1 1 0
Plaid Cymru 2.2 0 2 0
Green 1.8 0 10 0
Others 3.5 2 11 1

What does this mean for the local elections? Probably not much. I say this because I suspect that the general picture will be of one where the European elections (and debate) swamp everything else, although good local campaigns will seemingly buck trends. Those councillors and candidates with a solid record of working for their residents should be rewarded. Those that rely on the local popularity of their party only may find this is not enough this time around.

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One Response to February and March in by-elections

  1. Pingback: Vote Green get UKIP | Julian's musings

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